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21st Annual Black Tie Bingo Raises $259,000 for Guelph General Hospital

March 7 - There is something truly special about Black Tie Bingo, The Foundation of Guelph General Hospital’s premier fundraising event.

Most events have a 10-year life cycle before they need to be reinvented or replaced, but each and every year over its 21 years, Black Tie Bingo has experienced an ever increasing demand for tickets and continues to set new fundraising records.

As the 21st Annual Black Tie Bingo was wrapping up, Suzanne Bone, The Foundation’s CEO, had announced over Twitter that the event had raised $257,000, but after some more number crunching, Suzanne was pleased to announce a correction that the event raised just over of $259,000!

This year all 430 tickets “sold out” within days of the Save the Date announcement, before tickets were even printed and on sale, and at its peak, there were 70 people on the waiting list. In addition, there were close to 250 sponsors and prize donors, and almost 100 volunteers who contributed to the success of the event.

The Co-operators and Meridian Credit Union were back as Presenting Sponsors, and there were three Gold Sponsors – The Letter M Marketing, Kevin and Katie Malinski and John and Barb Wood. “We had a record year in sponsorship this year, which really helped us raise the amount that we did” said Bone.

By far, the most inspiring part of the night was when $84,500 was raised in just minutes during the live auction through bids towards the “Fund A Need” auction lot – setting yet another Black Tie Bingo record.

Another highlight was when Linda Craig, Senior Development Officer at the Foundation, was honoured for 15 years as the behind the scenes driver of Black Tie Bingo.  Suzanne Bone recognized Linda for her commitment to ensuring every detail is carefully thought through and executed with perfection, and for inspiring such a committed volunteer following. The crowd responded with a standing ovation.

All funds raised through this year’s event will allow Guelph General to replace one of its almost obsolete portable X-ray machines as well as replace 11 decade-old defibrillators/ monitors. But, because of their advanced technology they will do far more than replace their predecessors, they will improve patient care at our Hospital.

The new X-ray unit will allow superior image quality, not only for the diagnostic image, but also with Real-Time images that the technologist can use to ensure that the best image is taken the first time.

The new defibrillators/ monitors have many new features that drastically improve resuscitation success rates. The most significant improvement is that the machines provide immediate feedback on CPR ensuring it is performed optimally.

So what is it that draws people back year of year and continues to attract new interest in this event?

Doug MacMillan of The Letter M Marketing who has been donating creative services since 2006, believes that “it is because the event is in some way reinvented every year with a fresh and relevant theme.” It is also one of Guelph’s only black tie events.

Or maybe because it brings together our community for a very special and important purpose.

Over its 21 years, Black Tie Bingo has raised over $3 million for the Hospital, funding many vital pieces of patient care equipment, and ultimately helping to improve the quality of care that our Hospital is able to provide to its community.

About The Foundation of Guelph General Hospital

Patient care equipment is not covered by government funding within the province of Ontario.

Equipment as essential as IV pumps, surgical scopes and diagnostic scanners are available at Guelph General Hospital only because of generous financial gifts from within the community.

Since the Foundation’s inception almost 30 years ago, more than $49 million in donations has been raised for the Hospital.

Today, the Foundation raises approximately $2.5 million dollars each and every year and almost every dollar the Hospital spends on patient care equipment comes from these caring donations.

New Arrivals Improve Patient Care at GGH

Cataract Microscope

It certainly felt like Christmas at the Hospital with many donor-funded pieces of patient care equipment arriving over the holiday season…

Anatomical Pathology tracking system: Each year at GGH, more than 10,000 tissue samples are produced and each one must go to the lab for testing. Our dedicated team have been working for more than a year to implement a complex, computerized system that will track and verify the identity of every tissue sample at every stage within the workflow processes. It uses barcode technology to ensure that specimens are identified correctly throughout the process. The checks in the system – which we have now - become automated. You can’t go on to the next step in the process unless the system lets you because everything is okay.

The system, funded by Circle of Life donors, should launch later this month.

Helping wounds heal faster:   Last year, GGH performed over 4,000 in-patient surgeries requiring a stay in hospital. Many patients recovering from surgery will have wounds that require special care. The Vacuum Assisted Closure (V.A.C.) machine enhances and speeds wound healing through negative pressure while reducing risks of infection. This resulting in faster, effective healing and improved patient care.

Digital Eye Testing:   Eyesight and eye health is an important indicator of overall health. GGH’s Ophthalmology Clinic’s doctors diagnose and treat disorders of the eye such as cataracts, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma, as well as systemic disease that manifest in eye signs or symptoms. This system enables vision testing to be done digitally to offer a variety of tests with efficient electronic access.

The Hospital’s team of over 250 dedicated volunteers give countless hours of their time to the Hospital which is enough to be thankful for. It’s hard for us to find words to express our gratitude for their extended generosity to fund these two important pieces of equipment.

Vision restored: Thanks to the Guelph Lions Club, we now have a brand new, specialized microscope benefitting the 1,400 patients a year who come to us to have their vision restored through cataract surgery. This state-of-the-art equipment uses the most up to date technologies providing the best possible clarity while our ophthalmologists operate on a patient’s eyes. This high resolution allows our surgeons to see the smallest possible detail – especially critical when creating tiny sutures during surgery.

We feel so grateful to be a part of such a wonderful, giving community. Patient care is better at our Hospital because of community support!

In the photo above, two volunteers help stage the cataract microscope in use.


Circle of Life Votes for MALDI-TOF

MALDI-TOF is a laboratory procedure that will have great importance to patient care at our Hospital. This strange acronym stands for “matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization – time of flight.”       

Currently, if a patient is ill and an undetermined infection is suspected, a sample is taken (blood, urine, stool, etc.) and a lab technician then tries to grow that organism in the laboratory.

They wait, and wait, and when the sample is mature enough (perhaps three days after collection), it is then placed under the microscope where a lab technologist tries to identify what the organism is. They then label it in very general terms such as staph or strep.

But, with MALDI-TOF, they can take what’s growing at an early stage, and through some complex science involving proteins, make a final and very accurate identification in as little as just 50 minutes!

The speed and accuracy of specimen identification using MALDI-TOF will have a profound impact on patient care…

Imagine a mom, having just given birth to a beautiful baby boy. But it’s suspected the baby has an infection due to the circumstances of his birth, so he is placed in the Special Care Nursery until the possibility of an infection is ruled out.

Mom and baby are separated for three days while they wait for the test results. Mom can visit the baby in the nursery as much as she likes, but it is not how this new mom imagined spending the first days together with her son.

Three days pass by and the test results are returned negative. Mom is overjoyed that she and her baby boy can make their way home and be close together at last, but those three days waiting were filled with anguish.

Had MALDI-TOF been available, mom and baby may have spent only hours apart. Imagine the difference this would have made to this new mom’s experience, and to her newborn baby.

This is just one example of how a patient’s experience could be shaped more positively by having this new technology at our Hospital.

The quality of identification with MALDI-TOF is state-of-the-art and much more reliable than current methods. It will lead to faster diagnosis and treatment of infections.  It will mean patients can get on the right antibiotic sooner, and home sooner. And, our physicians will be able to make more precise antibiotic choices, which is important in these days of antibiotic resistant infections.

The benefits extend beyond patient care and into operational efficiencies including faster in-house work with fewer referrals to Public Health. MALDI-TOF will also replace up to 25 identification methods currently employed. It is estimated that the Hospital will save approximately $25,000 per year in supply and test costs, and it is the greener option with less waste.

Wow! We are so grateful to our Circle of Life Members for voting yes to this project and for pledging to fund its purchase.

Circle of Life is a collective giving program. Each year, the membership jointly selects one of three priority projects to fund. Circle of Life members are committed to helping our community have access to exceptional healthcare, and we are truly grateful for their commitment and support. With a minimum $1,500 annual pledge, you too can join the Circle of Life to help fund important patient care projects like MALDI-TOF. For more information on Circle of Life, click here.

Celebrating Philanthropy at our Hospital

National Philanthropy Day is a celebration of giving, volunteering and charitable engagement. It highlights the accomplishments of all those involved in these acts and the difference they make to our society and our world.
On November 15th, National Philanthropy Day 2016, it was our distinct pleasure to host our annual Donor Wall Celebration to celebrate many of Guelph’s own philanthropists and the difference they make in their community through their support of Guelph General Hospital. 
The Hospital’s Donor Wall recognizes individuals and organizations who have given significantly to the Hospital, either through one-time gifts, or cumulatively over a number of years. In her opening remarks, Lynda Murray, the Foundation's Chair said “the wall represents over $40 million of gifts."
But what is truly significant is the difference these dollars make in the lives of people in the community for whom the Hospital serves. As Suzanne Bone, CEO of The Foundation of Guelph General Hospital expressed to the dozens of donors who attended the celebration, “donors like you help us save lives and improve health…together with our community. That’s our new purpose statement…because it is really why we do what we do.”
Dr. Samir Patel, GGH’s Chief of Radiology brought this statement to life as he described one patient’s journey at the Hospital.
Dr. Patel described a 54 your old woman who discovered a lump in her breast and within days she was seen at the Hospital’s new Breast Assessment Clinic where she had a mammogram, additional mammogram with specialized views, ultrasound, and biopsy under ultrasound all on one day.
Unfortunately the results of the diagnosis returned news that the lump was in fact a cancerous tumor.
Following this diagnosis, a number of other diagnostic imaging procedures were necessary to determine the best treatment path for this individual patient.
A breast MRI was performed to see if the tumor was attached to the chest wall to decide if she needed chemotherapy treatment before surgery. Fortunately for this patient, it was not and she did not need chemotherapy.
The patient also received a CT scan to look for spread to lungs, liver, and other tissues, then a bone scan using nuclear medicine to look for spread to bone. These results also returned good news to the patient that the cancer had not spread. The treatment path was then confirmed - surgery, to remove the tumor.
Dr. Patel reinforced the significance of philanthropy at the Hospital when he stated “all of these diagnostic services are available locally, within our community, because of the generosity of people like you.”
Following the opening remarks, the celebration moved to the Donor Wall, where 851 names of generous donors are proudly displayed. This year celebrated 41 new donors who were added to the wall as well as 26 donors who were recognized under higher giving levels.
The Celebration concluded with a tour of the Diagnostic Imaging department, where Dr. Patel and Jennifer Meher, the Hospital’s Diagnostic Imaging Manager welcomed donors into the diagnostic imaging rooms to talk more about the some of the pieces of DI equipment and the role they have in patient care at the Hospital.
It is only through generous supporters that the Hospital is able to provide the high level of quality care that people want and expect of their community Hospital. This was clearly illustrated through the sequence of activities at this year’s Donor Wall Celebration.
The Donor Wall Celebration will continue to be an Annual event, taking place on National Philanthropy Day.

Michael Brodie is already in the lead in his first ever 5k run race

GUELPH, ON – OCT 3 Like so many others who take up running, Michael too took up the sport as a way “to get more fit” and when he heard of the upcoming Thanksgiving Day Races, he decided that the timing was right for him to get out and give it a try.

And when Michael learned that the Races were helping to support Guelph General Hospital he decided to fundraise as well. He said “it doesn’t take much to send out a few emails and do a few posts on social media” and in doing just that, he has propelled himself into the top fundraiser position.

“It’s the local hospital, so it’s a good cause to support” said Michael who has, on two occasions, experienced first-hand the importance of quality healthcare at his community hospital.

When Michael’s son was 18 months old, he was experiencing some respiratory issues that kept him in the Hospital for an entire week. Michael and his wife camped out at the hospital with their son 24-7. “You get to know the nurses and other hospital staff quite well when you spend that much time at the hospital and I really appreciated the level of care from them all” said Michael as he reflected on that experience.

More recently one of his good friends spent weeks at Guelph General due to a cardiac event. Michael visited daily and once again witnessed the exceptional care provided by the GGH healthcare team.

“So why wouldn’t I fundraise” Michael thought to himself when he registered for his race.

Top fundraiser isn’t the only goal he is reaching for at this year’s races. While he has run 5k many times on his own, and even ran 7k as part of this year’s Terry Fox run, he is now “trying to increase his speed” and is hoping to achieve a personal best.

Michael’s son, now three and a half, also loves to run. Michael plans to bring him along to run in the 100m kids fun run.

The Thanksgiving Day Races have been a Guelph tradition since 1894 and take place every Thanksgiving Day Monday around Exhibition Park. It’s an event for all ages with entire families participating across the many events including the 1-mile, the 3k, the CJOY Magic 106.1 “3-in-1”, and the Metalumen 5k. There is also the 1k youth run and a 100m kids fun run.

The Thanksgiving Day Races are now organized by the Guelph Victors who in 2012 adopted Guelph General Hospital as an event beneficiary. “With the help of our sponsors (Metalumen, CJOY, Magic 106.1, David Parr Worldsource Securities, CIBC, Intrigue Media, Sutcliffe Kitchens, Linamar, Emil Smolders, Running Works, Mettrum Originals, Hitchhiker Lemonade Company, Nestle Waters Canada, Karen Lamb, and Thomas Black Massage Therapy), this year is promising to be one of the most successful in its fundraising history” said Suzanne Bone, CEO of The Foundation of Guelph General Hospital.

Full race-day details and registration is available through the Guelph Victors website

New Faces at The Foundation of Guelph General Hospital

It’s been a busy few months with comings and goings at the Foundation. This past spring, we said good-bye to three staff members who decided to pursue new career opportunities. “It was certainly a big change! For a while, it was like we were back in the early 2000s with just Debbie, Linda and myself” said the Foundation’s CEO, Suzanne Bone.

We are now thrilled to introduce you to our new team (and, of course, remind you of the rest of us that are still here!) Joining our team are:

Rob Cameron, Senior Development Officer, Major Gifts.Rob joined the Foundation in July, bringing a great mix of experience from private sector roles in the management and sales of laboratory products and IT services.  After attending University of Guelph, the community soon became home for his fast growing family: his wife, Paula and their kids, Jessie, Holly, Jack and Cole. In 2008, the Cameron family gave back to the community by starting a yearly charity event called “Holly’s Heart” in memory of their daughter, raising funds for both SickKids Hospital in Toronto and the Guelph Wish Fund for Children. A quote that Rob tries to live by is “If you can’t find your purpose, find your passion and it will lead you to your purpose” (T.D. Jakes). Rob looks forward to helping the team find friends and funds for Guelph General Hospital.

Lori Muzak McComb, Senior Development Officer, Major and Planned Gifts.Lori is the newest member of the team, joining the Foundation in August 2016. She brings with her over 12 years of senior fundraising experience, mostly in healthcare. Prior to this Lori managed marketing, communications and member service in the co-operative Credit Union system. Lori’s responsibilities include both our major gifts and planned giving programs. Lori will be the staff resource for our Philanthropy Leaders Cabinet and looks forward to working with our volunteers to deepen our community and donor relations, and also engaging the local allied professionals in our fundraising efforts. Lori is also an active volunteer and Director of the Board at Healthcare & Municipal Employees Credit Union, currently serving on the Audit and Risk Committee as well as the Recruitment/Nominating Committee.

Robyn Patrick, Office AssistantRobyn is a dynamic individual who is willing to take on just about any task thrown her way. It is these characteristics that make her so great at providing support for the entire FGGH team. Robyn started at the Foundation at the beginning of May as a Summer student and is now providing part-time support while she continues on with her University studies, pursuing her Bachelor of Commerce with a major in Marketing. Robyn enjoys working at the Foundation because she feels that the work we do here helps so many people in our community and she loves contributing to that.

Elizabeth Stewart, Marketing Communications SpecialistIn this role, Elizabeth strives to strengthen communications to donors and prospective donors so that they are fully aware of the impact of their support at GGH. Elizabeth is a proud and involved member of the Guelph community and enjoys contributing in ways that make Guelph an even greater place than it already is. Elizabeth actually started with FGGH as a Tour de Guelph volunteer where she assisted with fundraising communications. She also recruited her own Tour de Guelph team that raised over $3,000 for the Hospital and local and international Rotary projects.

Rob, Lori, Robyn and Elizabeth join Suzanne Bone, Linda Craig and Debbie de Boer who between them, have worked at the Foundation for an amazing 61 years!

Linda drives our Annual Giving program, spearheading mailings and events that raise more than half a million dollars each year. Debbie continues to be a backbone to our busy office, processing all donations and keeping donor information accurate within the donor database. Suzanne, as our CEO, works with the Foundation and Hospital staff teams, our volunteers, and our amazing donors to ensure we fulfil our purpose of saving lives and improving health.

A common characteristic amongst all our staff is their desire to put their skills to work in an organization that helps them make a difference within their community. It’s great to come to work each day and know you are helping make Guelph a healthier place to live.

If you are in the neighbourhood, please stop by – we’d love to say hello!

From left to right: Robyn Patrick, Rob Cameron, Lori Muzak McComb, Suzanne Bone, Debbie de Boer, Linda Craig, and Elizabeth Stewart.

Nuclear Medicine Now Open at GGH

Thanks to the generous 1-million dollar donation from Tom and Margaret Trainor, Guelph General Hospital's new Nuclear Medicine Suite is now up and running. Read all about their generous gift in the recent Guelph Mercury coverage.

50/50 Storm Game Winner

Congratulations to Wayne Braiden of Orangeville Ontario for winning $2,065 at March 18, 2016 Storm game 50/50 draw.

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